New Zealand rack of lamb
New Zealand rack of lamb
John Zur

Grazie's New Zealand Lamb Rack a Steal at $29

The appeal of Grazie Italian Cuisine

comes in part from its curious location on Washington Avenue. In a neighborhood of casual eateries and dives, a restaurant that prides

itself on quality of service and food is a refreshing thought,

especially when the prices are more than fair.

On a Tuesday night, that saw more than

half of the 75-seat restaurant occupied, owner Spurgeon Solomon

greeted guests, took orders, delivered food, and cleared wine

glasses. The pride he takes in the establishment, he co-owns with

Moshe Petel, is a rarity to see in owners.

Service is strong, from confident

servers greeting the table and carefully executing the evening's

specials to prompt clearing and crumbing between courses. While the

service and comforting ambiance -- soft background music, just-right

lighting, wrinkle-free linens, rich woods -- is on par with, or

superior to, some of South Beach's hipper Italian restaurants, the

prices are not. Sure the menu isn't as extensive as others, such as SoBe Italian competitors Prime Italian and Devito South Beach, but the quality of Grazie's

limited selection is noticeable.

John Zur

Wines by the glass, including a superb

2009 Callaway sauvignon blanc from California and a smooth Ruta 22

malbec from Patagonia, are priced at $11. The sauvignon blanc was

paired with one of the specials, the branzino ($31) that was

pan-seared and served over sauteed spinach in a light citrus sauce

with scalloped potatoes, broccoli, olives, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes.

The malbec paired nicely with the New

Zealand lamb rack ($29). Eight chops are served four to a rack. The

process begins with a simple rub consisting of olive oil, garlic,

salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Then there is a searing before

being crusted in Italian bread crumbs and pecorino romano. The rack

is then baked and served with a demi glace made from lamb bones,

rosemary, and garlic. The rack of lamb is served with garlic mashed

potatoes. The tenderness of the lamb, which attained the requested

temperature of medium-rare perfectly, was a truly exceptional rack of

lamb complete with rich flavors.

Grazie Italian Cuisine
701 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

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